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Wisconsin Democrats pitch accommodations for adults with disabilities

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(The Center Square) – The latest plan from Democrats at the Wisconsin Capitol would encourage businesses to install adult changing stations in their bathrooms.

Sen. Melissa Agard, D-Madison, and state Rep. Robyn Vining, D-Waukesha, on Tuesday announced a program they say would help adults with disabilities.

“Access to changing stations is an issue of public health and of human dignity. And, it’s an issue of community connection.” Vining said in a statement. “We have a population of people in need who are going unseen because they are unable to participate in society. Since the buildings don’t work for the people, the people aren’t going to the buildings. We can change that, and so we should.

Vining told the story about a family she met who said they don’t go places because there aren’t any facilities for them.

“At one of our very first in-district meetings with constituents in 2019, a mother shared her concerns about the lack of adult-sized changing stations in public places for people with disabilities. Sarah shared that her son Matthew had been unable to go to basketball games, museums, and airports because, then at age 19, he had to be changed on the floor of public restrooms or in the back of their van,” Vining added. “This also affected their family’s ability to do things together.”

Agard said the plan would install universal changing stations in all public buildings, and offer tax credits to businesses that do the same.

“In order for Wisconsin to be a place where families can live, work and thrive, we need to ensure that our state is accessible for everybody. We all deserve the same access to public spaces, and access to bathrooms should not be a barrier to participating fully in society. Nobody should have to lose their dignity in order to leave their home and no one should have to receive necessary care on an unsanitary floor. We can do better,” Agard said. “This bill is about doing the right thing to make our communities more accessible and welcoming for all persons. It’s time to make Wisconsin accessible, welcoming and safe for everyone.”

There is, however, no word how much the proposal would cost.

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